Patchogue, NY – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that deer removal operations, approved through the Fire Island National Seashore White-tailed Deer Management Plan, will be implemented during a window of operations starting March 1 through March 31, 2020 at the William Floyd Estate, a unit of Fire Island National Seashore located on Long Island, and on NPS-lands on Fire Island.
“The goal of this effort is to restore a balanced ecosystem that supports the diversity of plants and animals found on Fire Island and at the William Floyd Estate. Enhancing the various habitats and species diversity makes Fire Island a stronger and more resilient place for wildlife to live and thrive,” said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Alexcy Romero. The overabundance of white-tailed deer has resulted in the depletion of native tree and shrub seedlings and saplings preventing the natural ability of the forest to mature and regenerate and has decreased habitat for a multitude of native wildlife species. “Without intervention, there is little hope for these habitats to recover from the impacts of an overabundance of deer.”
This year’s deer removal operations is the second year of a three year effort to reach desired deer densities that will support natural regeneration of habitats. The desired deer density at the William Floyd Estate and island-wide on Fire Island is approximately 20 to 25 deer per square mile, which allows for a healthier, more diverse forest habitat which can support a healthy deer herd as well as the other native wildlife.
“Safety is our top priority during this operation,” said Mr. Romero. The Seashore has contracted with wildlife professionals to carry out the removal operations at the William Floyd Estate and on federal lands on Fire Island. These contractors are highly qualified firearm experts experienced in conducting wildlife reduction operations within lands adjacent to a suburban environment. Areas of the park will be closed when operations are underway for the safety of the public.
The plan, approved in April 2016, sets forth an integrated deer management strategy to achieve a deer density goal of 20 to 25 deer per square mile and to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. The management strategy outlined in the plan includes the following:
● Expanded education and outreach
● Increased deer and vegetation monitoring and research
● Deer population reduction and maintenance through removal operations; a public hunt only within the Fire Island Wilderness; and fertility control, should a federally-approved agent become available and meet the established criteria laid out in the plan.